Last week when I was reading the Easter story, I noticed a few things about Joseph of Arimathea. Scripture tells us that Joseph went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus after the crucifixion so that he could bury it. The text in Mark 15 tell us that Joseph received permission from Pontius Pilate . It then tells us that Joseph “bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen.”
It struck me that Joseph was giving his best to Jesus. He could have bought any kind of material but he bought fine linen, which must have cost him a pretty penny or denarius if you will. I checked the current cost for linen and regular linen will go for about $5.00 a yard. However, fine linen can run you up to ten times that much, i.e. $50.00 a yard. So even by today’s standards, buying fine linen was costly indeed.
Maybe that doesn’t impress you much. Perhaps you’re thinking, “What are several yards of cloth going to cost you, four to five hundred dollars? So? But that is not the extent of Joseph’s generosity, not by a long shot. The text then tells us that Joseph “laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of stone.” We know from the Gospel of Matthew that this was Joseph’s new tomb. No one had been put in there before. Talk about expensive. Can you imagine the cost of having a tomb carved out of rock? Just like today, an endeavor like that would be extremely expensive; and yet Joseph didn’t hesitate to give his tomb to Jesus. By today’s standards the tomb could have cost upwards of $50,000 dollars.
I don’t know about you but before this past weekend, I had never really considered the cost of what Joseph had done. I knew he shown courage when he asked Pilate for Jesus’ body but I had never really thought about his generosity. When I think about what he did and how quickly he made his decisions, I am impressed.
And the takeaway? For me, it is to examine myself and check my own level of generosity. What would I be willing to give to the Lord? Would I hang on to my money or would I be willing to give him my best? Definitely a question I need to think about as I move forward this year! What about you, how is your level of generosity?
Image by D William. Courtesy of Pixabay